Anyone who was around in 1973 will immediately recognise Shaftesbury as the setting for that famous Hovis Bread TV commercial, where a young boy pushes his bike laden with loaves up a steep, cobbled street (watch it on YouTube if you missed it!). This will give you a good inkling of what to expect when you book a Shaftesbury cottage as nothing much has changed - indeed, not much since the 18th Century.
Brimming with fine historical buildings, the best way to explore this hilltop Saxon settlement is to follow the Shaftesbury Heritage Trail. Start anywhere in town and look out for heritage panels and blue plaques displaying local information. Gold Hill (or 'Hovis Hill') plays its part and you can visit Gold Hill Museum at the top, as well as Shaftesbury Abbey Museum and Garden, set on the site of a Saxon Benedictine Abbey. The views from the top are amazing, sweeping over Blackmore Vale and neighbouring counties of Wiltshire and Somerset.
There are lots of shops to potter and browse, from antiques and second-hand books to quirky gifts, plus a selection of pubs, cafés and restaurants. Thursday is market day and there's a monthly farmers' market. It's also worth checking out any local festivals and carnivals, or plays and exhibitions at the Shaftesbury Arts Centre.
Days out from your Shaftesbury cottage
Bath, Bournemouth, Stourhead, Stonehenge and Longleat are all within an hour's drive, while Compton Abbas Airfield and Aviation Museum is closer still. Or head deep into glorious countryside along the many walking and cycling trails of Cranborne Chase and Blackmore Vale.
Find out for yourself and book a Shaftesbury cottage soon!